Optics and photonics

Photonic crystals and metamaterials attract attention as advanced optical materials because they can be used to control the flow-of-light. Liquid crystals provide promising platform to create such systems due to spatially varying birefringent profiles and the possibility of self-assembly. We have developed a number of custom written numerical codes, which include various implementations of FDTD and FDFD methods in order to investigate interactions between the material parameters and the electromagnetic fields. In addition, methods are used to study the relations between the topological invariants and to analyze the photonic response of birefringent photonic crystals and metamaterial structures with the aim to create tunable soft matter photonic platforms.

We also developed a number of beam propagation and ray-tracing methods allowing to accurately model the 3D flow of light over long distance (up to a few mm), thus addressing computational limitations of costly FDTD/FDFD methods which are better suited for structures with sizes comparable to the light wavelength. In addition to the application to microscopy and visualization of birefringent structures (see Resources - Nemaktis), these methods allow the modeling of fascinating non-linear optical phenomena such as LC-based optical solitons called nematicons, as well as investigating the interaction between topologically protected birefringent structures and laser beams.

Selected papers

  • A. Kavčič, M. Garvas, M. Marinčič, K. Unger, A.M. Coclite, B. Majaron and M. Humar Deep tissue localization and sensing using optical microcavity probes , Nat. Comm. 13, 1269 (2022). [Link] [PDF].

  • M. Papič, U. Mur, K. P. Zuhail, M. Ravnik, I. Muševič and M. Humar Topological liquid crystal superstructures as structured light lasers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, 49 (2021) [Link] [PDF].

  • A. J. Hess, G. Poy, J.-S. B. Tai, S. Žumer, and I. I. Smalyukh, Control of Light by Topological Solitons in Soft Chiral Birefringent Media, Phys. Rev. X 10, 031042 (2020) [Link] [PDF][Physics focus story].

  • G. Poy, A. J. Hess, I. I. Smalyukh, and S. Žumer Chirality-Enhanced Periodic Self-Focusing of Light in Soft Birefringent Media, Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 077801 (2020) [Link] [PDF].

  • S. Žumer, Electroshock tuning of photonic crystals, Nat. Mat. 19 6-7 (2020) [Link] [PDF].

  • A. Pusovnik, J. Aplinc and M. Ravnik Optical properties of metamaterial split ring resonators, Sci. Rep., 9, 7025 (2019). [Link] [PDF].